Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site

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Deposit-Coach Fox WW2 Letters

Submitted by James Fox, August 2004

In the fall of 1942, Deposit Central School's newly appointed District Principal, Frederick G. Fox, sent out a series of newsletters and personal letters to homesick servicemen who were high school athletes when he was their coach. Letters of reply to their coach, told of their travels and military experiences, and asked for news about their former teammates that they didn't get from The Deposit Courier or family letters from Wheeler Street, China Road, Cannonsville or Barbourville. Fox's letters that followed would pass on news from others, lay plans for reunion games when they returned from the war, refuel debates about championship dream teams of 1933 vs 1941, and chat about school janitors and deer hunting. But mostly, they offered personal support from all of the townsfolk who had cheered for them as boys from hometown bleachers, but were now cheering for them as men in a foreign war.

Fox, who died at 96 in 2002, coached all sports at Deposit from 1930 to 1942, (including girls in early years!). Ninety letters, written from 1942-46 by thirty-nine young men, (some who enlisted before graduating), were discovered in an alphabetized accordion file in his (just-inside-Delaware-County) Pine Street attic, by daughter Jean Fox Neil and son Jim. Packets of letters and "V-mail" were postmarked from boot camps and university-based Officer Candidate Schools around the country, and APO/FPOs cryptically from "somewhere in France", or an island in the South Pacific. Unfortunately, none of Fox's newsletters have yet surfaced, probably because mail to overseas military personnel with names and addresses had to be burned for security purposes. [May 2005 update - see letter retreived Dec 2004]

These letters are in the process of being transcribed and posted on the Delaware County NY Genealogy and History website, and when completed, the original letters will be given to the Deposit Historical Society Museum.

Letters were written by Clayton "Doc" Axtell jr., Herman "Bud" Beagle, Jack Bennett, Art Bonker, Ed Bonker, Berkeley Boyd, Johnny Brown, Justin "Chesty" Buchanan, Everett Buck, Paul Buck, Ray Burrows, Ralph Carl, Vere "Skinney" Conklin, Ken Crowley, Ken Curry, John E. Davis, Justin Hartz, Keith Hartz, George Judd, Richard "Cardo" Judd, Floyd "Bud" Kenyon, Dick Knapp, Wilfred Lee, Ed Martin, Lynn Martin, Roland "Orvie" Martin, Charles Moleski, Bob __?, Jack O'Rourke, Lester "Eatmore" Page, Tom Pierce, Grover Pratt, Charlie Schumacher, Kenneth J.Smith, Milo Stevens, Dick Storrer, Ervin "Tut" Tuttle, Paul "Pete" VanPelt. These letters refer to other athletes and school staff and Depositonians of their era. Coach Fox gave many of "his boys" nicknames. When possible, these references have been identified from Fox's collection of Deposit High School yearbooks (which first appeared in 1937), his team record notebooks, and newspaper clipping albums, and noted thus: *[].

Anyone with inquiries, anecdotes or comments is asked to contact If one of the veteran's letters listed have not yet been posted, and you have interest in it, let me know, and I'll put his letter at the top of my to-do list.

James Fox
Marcellus, NY


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